Weatherford Democrat

Aledo ExtrA

April 29, 2014

Aledo ISD trustees put computer purchase on hold

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Aledo ISD trustees stopped short of approving about $568,000 for new computers for teachers last week, voting 5-1 to postpone the recommendation until specifics could be nailed down on the computers and their impact on the budget.

The money was slated to come from the fund balance for the general fund.

Voting in favor of the postponement were trustees Jay Stringer, Hoyt Harris, David Davis, Dr. David Tillman and Steve Bartley. Voting against was trustee Bobby Rigues. Trustee Johnny Campbell was absent.

“I’m all for technology upgrades,” Harris said. “I guess if we’re going to be asked to spend a half million dollars, I’d like to see a plan B, and I’d like to see in writing how it affects the budget.

“If we knew these were issues in the fall, I wish we wouldn’t have waited until this meeting for the pressure of “the teachers need it now.”

Harris also asked about leasing options, but Husfeld said the interest costs were prohibitive.

“If we’ve got them working on five- or six-year-old computers, that’s crazy as far as I’m concerned,” Davis said. “My only issue is that I’ve got a computer that I just bought for X amount of dollars, and I run my entire business with it, and I just sent my kid off to college with it.

“We’re buying 524 units and paying over $1,000? I’m having a hard time adding that up in my head. I’d at least like to see another option on there also to at least have something to compare it to.”

The bid description showed 122 desktop computers, 402 laptop computers and various number of monitors, sound bars, docking station stands and computer carrying cases.

Chief Financial Officer Earl Husfeld said administrators were recommending replacing the computers because most were purchased in 2008 and 2009. They are out of warranty and becoming difficult to maintain.

“They’re still functional, but it’s becoming impractical to meet present-day educational standards,” he said.

Husfeld said the technology subcommittee of the Aledo 2025 committee was looking at replacing student computers.

Approving the purchase in April would allow the district to distribute the computers to teachers before they leave for the summer, Husfeld said, facilitating the start of the next school year.

“They can come back in June and pick up their computers,” Superintendent Derek Citty assured the reluctant trustees. “If you all need to look at other options, we can certainly bring those back to you. It is a lot of money.”

 In other business the school board:

 • Learned the district saved almost $1.9 million during an April 1 bank qualified bond refunding, $200,000 more than expected.

 • Approved the competitive sealed proposal procurement method as means to secure bids for traffic flow improvements to the McAnally Intermediate campus, which should lead to a bid award at the May 19 board meeting. In an update, Tom Rutledge of X, said TxDOT plans to widen FM Road 1187 along the north boundary of the school in August or September, as school is beginning.

“They will do some shoulder widening that will allow them to stripe a center turn lane at the intersection with FM Road 5 and moving to the east,” he said. “Also, they are going to provide a free right turn for traffic coming from the south, so when they get to the intersection they don’t have to stop.”

His firm had proposed a right turn into the intersection as part of the conceptual plan trustees approved in March, Rutledge said, but he would now like to put that on hold until TxDOT is finished, adding it later if needed.

 • Approved a Memorandum of Understanding between AISD, Bell Helicopter and Weatherford College that outlines what each will contribute to a manufacturing and engineering program that high school students can participate in to secure dual credit, college opportunities and industry certifications.

 • Approved hiring Mary Smith for the position of Career Tech Education Coordinator. Smith, with 26 years of education experience, worked with a team of educators to develop, promote and open the Hollenstein Career and Technology Center in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD. Most recently she has worked in collaboration with NTSU and TCC in developing dual credit opportunities for students.

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